CDC: Food left at unsafe temperatures led to illnesses at Ohio Chipotle

    (Photo credit: WSYX/WTTE)

    POWELL, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- A foodborne disease that happens when food is left at unsafe temperatures led to nearly 700 people getting sick after eating at a central Ohio Chipotle last month, according to results from the Centers for Disease Control.

    Investigators identified Clostridium perfringens as the culprit in the illnesses, but weren't able to identify a specific food as the source. Health officials say 647 people reported gastrointestinal symptoms after eating at the Chipotle in question between July 26th and July 30th.

    The CDC said although food samples tested negative for the bacteria, stool samples collected from people who got sick tested positive. Health officials say C. perfringens is one of the most common types of foodborne illness in the US, and the bacteria often occurs when foods are prepared in large quantities and kept warm for a long time before serving.

    The bacteria can cause diarrhea and abdominal cramps within hours after eating food with it, and the symptoms often last less than 24 hours. But, health officials say very young and elderly people, along with people who already have compromised immune symptoms can have more severe symptoms that last up to two weeks.

    Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol said in a statement "Chipotle Field Leadership will be retraining all restaurant employees nationwide beginning next week on food safety and wellness protocols."

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